A new boost for the study of charity and giving in the UK

Hard to believe it is now July. The aspiration to submit my PhD thesis (on ‘More than Money: the social meaning of philanthropy in contemporary UK society’) by 31st July is looking increasingly daunting. So – much as I love being part of the online community discussing philanthropy and charitable giving – I’m going to have to cut out blogging and cut down on tweeting until the ‘big one’ is done.

But I am pleased to use this last (for now) post to share news of a very exciting development in the world of understanding charity and giving. Next March the first edition of a new UK-based academic journal, Voluntary Sector Review, will be published and the the call for papers is now open.

The new journal is an initiative from the friendliest group of academics that I know: the Voluntary Sector Studies Network. When I made my first tentative steps from fundraiser to researcher, the VSSN was a great source of information, contacts and encouragement and the value of membership continues to increase as I settle into my new career.

The academic study of charity and giving in the UK has enjoyed a lot of boosts recently – the launch of two research centres devoted to the Third Sector and to Giving and Philanthropy, the associated job opportunities for researchers wanting to specialise in these fields and a greater number of events and online forums for the exchange and dissemination of ideas (foremost amongst which is also a VSSN initiative – the annual conference, which is being held at the University of Warwick on 7-8 September 2009).

But an academic community needs more than research centres, job openings and meetings – it needs somewhere to publish peer-reviewed work. I really hope there’s a big response to the call for papers and I can’t wait to read the first edition next Spring.

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